v 2. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest.
If you thought yesterday’s idea of sharing everything was an idealist’s dream, today you might well be saying ‘Told you so! Back in the real world where I live not everything is sweetness and light.’ This couple had adopted an outlook reflected in an article I read recently which went something like this. ‘As followers of Jesus we all want to be more holy and generous than we are; we also want others to think we are more holy and generous than we are.’ Get the message? We want to give a good impression without the reality behind it.
Were these two people generous? Of course they were – they gave away most of their possessions. But they said they were giving everything: there’s the rub. There was deceit and conspiracy to defraud behind their apparent generosity. There was a serious character and behavioural flaw that had not been transformed by their faith in Jesus. I won’t even attempt to explain the reasons behind the severity of the judgment they experienced. Suffice to observe that while God’s plan for us is that we should be generous, honesty and integrity in all our dealings are also vital. The proper word for play-acting in the way this couple were is hypocrisy, and Jesus had a great deal to say about that. If you want to catch a glimpse of how he felt about it then just read Matthew 23:13-36. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were self-seeking hypocrites, and Jesus verdict on them was extreme too.